Celebrate National ‘Simplify Your Life’ Week

Like me, blog readers, you probably never knew that the first week in August is “National Simplify Your Life Week”!

It’s not our place to address the philosophical reasons why we now need a designated NATIONAL week to remind us to clean out our garages. There are actually many things that go into simplifying a lifestyle, but for most of us, the first thing that comes to mind is getting rid of all those things we no longer use. (I can recall a time when clutter was actually seen as sort of a good thing. You never knew what you might find down in your grandmother’s basement – stacks of old magazines, boxes of clothes, discarded furniture that you could use to play house. You could get hours of entertainment out of it.)

Nowadays, experts recommend that you periodically go through your closets, kitchen cupboards, kids’ rooms, and, yes, your storage unit. Separate everything into things you want to keep, things you want to pass on, and things to throw away.

Bring those things you want to pass on to the ALI thrift store! While we don’t take furniture, TVs, old computers, or large appliances, you can bring us everything else. We take donations at our shop during the hours we’re open (Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm; Friday from 10 am to 5:30 pm). Drive around to our rear door at the back of our building, and we’ll happily help you unload your car.

Once you’ve simplified your life, you’ll be so happy you’ll be ready for the second week in August, which is “National Smile Week”!

LOOKING FOR A WAY TO GIVE BACK?

Here’s a quote from one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Carole King:

“Good people help their neighbors in communities every day. Whether through military service, political activism, volunteering at a school, hospital, or library, or simply through quotidian acts of kindness, each of us has something to contribute to improve another person’s life.” (from Carole King’s autobiography, A Natural Woman)

 If you’re reading this blog, you’re familiar with the Assistance League of Irvine and what we do to help our community. But have you ever thought about joining us? We currently have 118 members, with more joining us every month. We have several levels of membership or volunteer opportunities, that can accommodate just about anyone’s schedule. Our members have diverse backgrounds and interests, and along with our philanthropic work, we have a LOT of fun!

If you’re looking for a way to give back to your community, or want to expand your activities and your circle of friends, stop by our thrift shop at 2452 Alton (between Jamboree and Von Karman) and fill out a membership interest form. You can also email us at: membership@irvine.assistanceleague.org. Our membership chair will call you and meet with you to give you more information about ALI. We’d love to have you join us!

April 27th 6am – April 28 12pm – YOU CAN GIVE WHERE YOUR HEART LIVES

Blog readers, are you ready for the 22nd Annual IHeart OC Giving Day? This is the one time a year in a 30-hour period you can give back and it’s so easy!

April 27th 6am – April 28 12pm – YOU CAN GIVE WHERE YOUR HEART LIVES.

Our thrift shop supports about 80% of our budget. The rest has to come from donations. And the IHeartOC Giving Day is the easiest possible way to make a donation to Assistance League of Irvine. Just click on this link to the IHeartOC website and it will automatically take you to the web page where you can make a tax-deductible donation to Assistance League of Irvine.

ALL the money ALI raises supports our programs right here in Irvine. School clothing, school supplies, and eyeglasses for needy children, scholarships for single parents and high school seniors planning to attend Irvine Valley College, help for the Human Options shelter, our annual Young Masters art show, our Assisteens auxiliary that builds character and leadership skills in 7th grade to 12th grade students through volunteer activities, and our incredible thrift shop – all of these directly affect the lives of Irvine families. AND WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT TO CONTINUE ALL THESE WONDERFUL PROGRAMS.

We’re not an organization that sends you mailers every month asking for donations. We don’t have a “pledge week.” But we’re asking for your donation in any amount, during the IHeartOC campaign. Thank you for supporting us!

CLICK HERE TO GIVE WHERE YOUR ❤ LIVES

(The IHeartOC campaign is sponsored by the Orange County Community Foundation as a way to publicize non-profits in Orange County and encourage donations.)

Blog readers – Help Us Win Free Advertising and continue helping the community!

we-need-your-voteThe Orange County Register is giving away $2MM in FREE ADVERTISING to non-profits! HELP US WIN some of this free advertising!

We’re competing with many other non-profits for a share of these advertising dollars in the Register’s annual “Golden Envelope” contest. With our goal to return at least 67% of our revenue back to the community, our advertising budget is very small. And we don’t have to tell you that newspaper ads are expensive. More money to spend on ads in the Register (at no cost to us!) would really help us tell our story to the community, showcase our philanthropies, recruit new members, and bring more shoppers (and donations!) to the Thrift Shop. But we need your help!

All you have to do is VOTE for Assistance League of Irvine to win. You can vote once a day between now and the end of the contest on March 31. And we’re making it so easy to vote!  Just CLICK HERE to vote and then click on the big CHECK MARK. That’s all you have to do!

Every vote counts, and we sincerely appreciate your votes. Tell your friends – tell your neighbors – and help us win!

 

YOUR THRIFT SHOP DOLLARS AT WORK!

TargetCartsAuthor Marta Mahoney,  Assistance League of Irvine Member

All you faithful thrift shoppers have been buying up a storm! We know what you’ve been doing with all those tops, pants, housewares, and toys you’ve been buying. But we thought YOU’D like to know what WE’VE been doing with the money from our thrift shop sales over the past couple of months.

We’ve been spending your dollars on our annual “Operation School Bell” philanthropy, which kicks off at the start of every school year. (You may have been at the shop during one of our OSB “Meet & Greets,” and seen families with exuberant school-age kids heading upstairs to our 2nd floor community resource center to meet with our OSB committee.) Operation School Bell provides school clothing and school supplies to low-income students in the Irvine Unified School District, from pre-K through 12th grade. We’ve been helping qualified IUSD students through OSB since 1990.

Every child is allocated a set amount of money to purchase school clothing, on a sliding scale from $75 to $125 depending on grade level. Families come to a “shopping event” at our partner retail store, Target North on Jamboree and Irvine Blvd., to pick out their clothing, and ALI pays Target when they check out. Target provides us with an additional 5% off every transaction for using our Target Redcard, and also extends us a tax exempt status discount.

At the introductory “Meet & Greet,” each student gets a backpack, school supplies, a set of personal care items, and an age-appropriate book to take home. Each family with school-age kids receives a dictionary, and our littlest pre-K people get to pick out a stuffed animal. We also provide parents with information on other resources for low-income families, such as vision care, dental care, the 211 resource guide, and our own scholarships for Irvine Valley College and SAT test prep for high-school students. And we give each family member a $5 gift card to our thrift shop – because everyone should have something new and fun from the thrift store for back-to-school!

NOW FOR THOSE STATISTICS – YOUR SHOPPING DOLLARS AT WORK!

We’ve clothed 662 children since August, when the year-round schools started. All the money for these 662 kids came from YOUR thrift shop purchases. Shoppers, that’s a lot of $5 tops and pants! We appreciate every one of you who supports our shop and helps us get these students ready for a successful school year.

OUR OWN BLUE-LIGHT SPECIALS!

abstract-wallpapers-abstract-blue-lights-wallpaper-37323Author Marta Mahoney,  Assistance League of Irvine Member

No, we’re not K-Mart – but if any of the following apply on the day you’re shopping, you’ll get a special discount off your purchase!

  1. It’s your BIRTHDAY! Join our BIRTHDAY CLUB, and you’ll receive an in-store coupon good for 15% off your entire purchase, which can be used on any one day of your birthday month! You can sign up at the thrift store during regular business hours – just ask one of the ALI volunteers. Be sure to sign up early as it takes us about a month to process your membership.
  2. You’re a SENIOR CITIZEN! Seniors age 65 and over get a discount of 25% on their total purchase, on the 3rd Thursday of every month! All you need to do is shop on the 3rd Thursday and show us your I.D.
  3. You’re shopping on ANY THURSDAY! Every Thursday is “Mystery Discount” day! After your purchases are totaled, you can pick a token from our “Mystery Discount” cup. Whatever is on your token – 10%, 25%, etc. – is taken off your bill! (This can’t be combined with the “Senior discount,” however – it’s one or the other.)
  4. You follow us on YELP, using the YELP app on your smartphone. You can receive a $2 coupon to use on any minimum purchase of $5 or more, when you “check in” to our thrift shop with the YELP app.   (This app searches for businesses in the area based on your location, and tracks and posts your activity to a social media site of your choosing, such as Facebook or Twitter.)

YELP will then send you an electronic coupon! The coupon is delivered to your smartphone immediately and can either be used on the same day, or saved for your next trip to the thrift shop. But it can’t be transferred, emailed or re-used – once it’s opened, it disappears!

YELP being YELP, you’ll also be encouraged to post a review about your shopping experience at the thrift store. We read all our reviews on YELP and take the comments very seriously. If you do take advantage of this coupon, we welcome your feedback on YELP!

With all these SPECIAL DISCOUNTS, shoppers, (not to mention our regular weekly sales), there’s NO EXCUSE not to shop at the ALI thrift store!

The amazing donors of Team Stone Creek

donation-pick-upWe have thrift shop donors . . . and then we have thrift shop donors. Today we want to tell you about some truly amazing donors! They are called Team Stone Creek, and they’re a student service club of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders at Stone Creek Elementary School in Woodbridge.

At the beginning of the school year, the kids, along with their faculty advisors Mike Clarke, John Hernandez, and Shelley Nishikawa, brainstormed suggestions for service projects. They came up with the idea of a clothing drive to benefit the ALI thrift shop, since they thought most families have old clothing they’d be happy to donate to a good cause. Stone Creek School has a special fondness for the Assistance League of Irvine, since Susan Mehrtens, a long-time ALI member (and incoming chapter president for 2014-15) was the school’s principal from 1998 to 2006. The students felt our thrift shop would be a worthy recipient for their donations.

The 4th graders created a flyer and sent out an e-mail blast to the community, while the 5th graders made posters advertising the event. The 6th grade was in charge of picking up the donations. The clothing drive was a huge success – they collected almost 60 bags of clothing for ALI!  

These amazing kids also held a food drive at Thanksgiving to benefit Families Forward, and sponsored a book drive last month. Their efforts are one of the reasons Stone Creek was recently ranked as the fourth-best elementary school in Orange County (out of 371 schools) by the Orange County Register.

With students like these, we know the future of Irvine is in good hands. Thank you, Stone Creek Elementary School!